Venezuelan Vice President Jorge Arreaza on Thursday kicked off an official visit to China with several meetings with top political and financial leaders.

"We have the region's most significant natural resources despite not being that big of a country: the world's largest oil reserves and among the (world's) most significant gas reserves," Arreaza said in his meeting with the head of the National Development and Reform Commission, China's highest economic planning body.

Arreaza also met Thursday with Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao and the chairman of the China Development Bank, Hu Haibang.

The Venezuelan said bilateral ties between China and Venezuela were a "model for many countries around the world and particularly in the Americas," a relationship that late President Hugo Chavez had "always given the highest level of importance."

"President Nicolas Maduro, as Chavez's political son and heir, likewise gives maximum importance" to Venezuela's ties with the Asian giant, Arreaza said.

Li Yuanchao, who received the Venezuelan vice president in a solemn ceremony outside Beijing's Great Hall of the People, where they reviewed an honor guard, said Maduro's administration had "gotten off to a good start" on both the domestic and international fronts and was "broadly supported by the Venezuelan people." EFE